15 December 2017

South Africa: Municipality Spurns Addo Residents' Call for Upgrades

Photo: Joseph Chirume/GroundUp
Informal traders in Addo are asking for the municipality to upgrade this pothole-ridden hub which is used by tourists and locals.

A small citrus farming town in Eastern Cape was once abuzz with activity with many tourists travelling through it to the popular Addo Elephant National Park.

Now, the neglected town's centre has local residents concerned about its deteriorating conditions. The town of Addo is located about 40 kilometres from Port Elizabeth. Addo is also home to thousands of seasonal and permanent farm workers.

The busy city centre has no public toilets, so traders and shoppers are often forced to relieve themselves in nearby bushes.

One of the shop owners, who asked not to be named, said that she wrote a letter to the Sundays River Valley Municipality two years, asking for better services in the area. In response, the municipality said it would be too expensive to put in a toilet in the area, the woman said.

"They said it would cost around R500,000. This place is a serious health risk. It is worse in winter because that is when the citrus season is at its busiest," she said.

"The road is filled with potholes and the are no litter bins.Thousands of tourists pass through this place and this gives a bad impression of our area.The place is always waterlogged because of bad drainage," she said.

Tozama Mubutho, an informal trader said, "This shopping centre is good for business because there are thousands of farmworkers who get paid weekly here. Sadly, there are no public toilets. It is scary when it rains. The whole place becomes muddy and unhealthy," she said.

Joeman Sinyoro, manages the nearby taxi rank. He said their efforts to engage with the municipality have been futile so far. "It is not good to see our passengers taking turns to relieve themselves in the bushes. We also receive a fair share number of tourists passing through to Addo National Park," he said.

GroundUp made several attempts by phone and SMS to contact the Sundays River Valley Municipality for comment. The municipality has ignored all our requests.

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